Thursday, November 20, 2014

Third Way, "liberal trolls" for the Republicans

If Third Way in the United States was ever anything other than a liberal-troll operation on behalf of Republicans, it is no longer. Sidney Blumenthal was one of early leaders in putting it together, as he describes in his The Clinton Wars (2003). My impression is that his intention was to establish a firmer basis for liberal politics, even if with a corporatist twist.

But now its just another Centrism Fetishist outfit (to adapt a phrase from Joan Walsh) that pushes Democrats to be more like the Republicans. We see the electoral results of that approach in the 2014 midterms. Sam Stein reports in Following 2014 Drubbing, Democrats Fret Things Could Get Worse Huffington Post 11/18/2014:

The president has promised or pursued action on priority items for his base: deferring deportations for groups of undocumented citizens and announcing a climate deal with China. He's also trying to sand down the rough edges of opposition and dissatisfaction in Congress. After a public airing of criticism by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's office, staffers for the White House and the majority leader have reached out to each other to calm tensions.

Some in the party want him to go even further, arguing that at least showing good rapport with Republicans would improve the party's standing.

"He should take their veto-bait bills in stride, not overreact to their rhetorical and legislative excesses," said Matt Bennett, co-founder and senior vice president of Third Way, a moderate Democratic think tank. "It is very much in his interest that he be seen as getting the wheels of government moving again. That will help his legacy and the prospects of the next Democratic nominee." [my emphasis]
Probably 99% of what anybody needs to know about Third Way's perspective is this paper that scolds the Democrats for not being more aggressive in attempting to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid ("entitlements" in the Republican propaganda phrase which they use): Entitlement Reform (n/d; accessed 11/20/2014).

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